Assessing the health of soils on our farms will provide vital evidence on the impact of our farming practices on the complex, but hidden habitat of soil.

In 2024 the CRT intends to implement a soil monitoring programme on at least five properties. We will take spades to the ground, look for earthworms, assess the physical attributes of soil and take samples to measure minerals, nutrients and carbon. We are looking for donations to fund the cost of rolling out this programme, including training staff and volunteers, and laboratory analysis of samples.

Measuring soil health and soil carbon will help guide us in future management of our land. We need to be sure that we have the right land management in place, that soil health is improving over time and that carbon stocks are not being depleted by farming practices. Farming has a major role to play in mitigating the impacts of climate change; a healthy soil will intercept rainfall and reduce floodrisk but will also make the land more drought resilient. Having a healthy soil (coupled with the right kind of vegetation cover) can also reduce reliance on external inputs such as artificial fertiliser.

This is a really exciting new initiative for the CRT likely to have long-term benefits for our farmers, farming and land.

The need for funding

It costs £25 for each soil sample to be analysed and in 2024 we will need to have several hundred samples analysed from across the CRT’s property portfolio to create our baseline.

Wildlife blog: Healthy soil is living soil